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An invasion of leprechauns – OK, grandchildren really!

May 26, 2011

Charlie, Lily and Jessica aboard "Rampage"

On Tuesday last week, in a state of great excitement, we left Gouvia for the airport. We stopped briefly to do some shopping and then found that we couldn’t get any money out of the local ATMs as they’d all stopped working for one reason and another. So we had to stop on the way and then suddenly realised that we were now running late…….. As we came round the end of the runway, there was an Easyjet plane taxiing round to the terminal, so even more panic began to set in with one member of the party.

In the event, we had plenty of time as the Dublin contingent had to collect their suitcase before coming through to join us. Much excitement all round, with hugs and kisses to celebrate meeting up again after not seeing one another for about 3 months. Ken collected the hire car and I took Naomi and the two big children (Charlie and Jessie) with me in the Fiat. We then travelled in convoy to their hotel in Gouvia town before moving down on to the boat for lunch. It was then made clear to me that the 2 big kids were staying on board, whilst Ken, Naomi and Lily would be using the hotel room……. Talk about a culture shock; no close contact with sub 7 kids for nearly 19 years and now there were 2 of them on Rampage. Massive adjustments of normal life patterns were enforced and I was quickly apprised of my place in the pecking order (somewhere between a butler and a chauffeur I think, with a side order of chef), so I metaphorically shrugged my shoulders and got on with it.

Charlie takes the helm

Wednesday dawned overcast and rainy but once Naomi and Ken had joined us from the hotel, we decided to set off for a trip down the coast to Kalami Bay. The rain held off for most of the day and we had lunch at anchor in the bay before we headed back into the marina for supper. The rain caught up with us as we travelled the last mile or so into the channel but had gone away by the time we were coming into the pontoon.

Jessica steers with encouragement from Naomi & Julia

Thursday the weather was improved and most of the morning was spent in the marina, pottering about in the tender and generally having fun. After lunch, I was left in charge of Lily whilst the remainder of the party went to Aqualand, a big water park in the centre of the island.

Grandpa and Lily

Jess and Naomi swim off the back of "Rampage" as Charlie makes his way down the ladder.

On Friday, the weather was even better and we set off down the coast to Petriti where we anchored overnight and had supper in one of the many fish tavernas in the village. The children had a lovely time on the sandy beach and in the shallows and Charlie & Jess were much impressed by the shipwrecked yacht on the shore. Coming back to the boat after supper in the dark was an adventure, as it was difficult to pick out Rampage from the other boats anchored in the bay. Rampage was packed out, with the older two kids sleeping top-to-tail in the passage berth, Naomi and Lily in the starboard cabin and Ken in a space cleared for him in the port cabin.

Ken takes the plunge and jumps off the pulpit

J and I got up at about 5.30 the following morning and sailed Rampage down to Lakka Bay on Paxos whilst everybody else slept on, down below. We arrived there in about 9am and spent the day down there, with much moving to and from the shore in the tender, messing about on the beach and learning to snorkel.

Jessie holding a sea urchin!

We set off back to Gouvia at about 6 that evening, eating our supper on route and I kept watch whilst everyone else slept soundly below (see what I mean about chauffer?). We made good time and arrived back in Gouvia by about half past midnight, when I woke J and we berthed Rampage without waking any littles!

After a long lie-in on Sunday, the day was spent taking things easy and in the afternoon, everyone except me went to the hotel to enjoy themselves by the pool and eat ice cream. I caught up on the sleep I’d missed from the previous night of boat driving and ensured a good tempered Grandpa for supper that evening, which we had a Zorba’s, taverna just by the marina entrance, famed for its very generous portions. Naomi was a bit upset to be told she wouldn’t need a starter but bowed to family pressure and confessed afterwards that we’d been right.

On Monday, I was up early and met Ken at the hotel to drive over to Paleokastrisa to go diving. I’d done an internet search and emailed all the local dive centres before they arrived and had been quoted a very good price with Achellion Diving Centre, so we’d booked a couple of dives with them and turned up at 10am. The only down side of the centre is that it is on the beach, whilst the hotel clings to the cliffs above it; this means carrying gear 50 metres down to the water’s edge (and of course carrying back up again afterwards). We had a couple of very good dives, one round a reef with lots of fish life whilst the second was into a cave where we could surface inside it and look up to see trees growing round the mouth of the cave above us. Having had our fill of dives, we then made our way back across the island to join J and Naomi at the hotel pool, where they’d spent the day.

Glyfada beach

Tuesday was nominated a ‘beach day’, so seeing as I don’t do beaches, I was sent into town to do various errands and the others went across the island to Glyfada, a lovely sandy beach almost opposite to Corfu town on the west coast. I spent a relaxed day in town and on the boat making a windscoop (a sort of ventilator to bring wind down into the boat when at anchor), whilst the others ate sand, got frozen in the sea and all that sort of stuff. (Actually the sea was not too cold and the snorkeling was great! – J) As it was there last day here, we all went into Corfu town that evening to look round the old town by night and have supper.

Naomi and Ken on their last evening

J & I accompanied them all to the airport yesterday morning and saw them off – one member of the group at least, in a high state of excitement at the prospect of her fifth birthday the following day (i.e. today!) Since their departure, we have been busy cleaning the boat, doing laundry and stocking up on non-perishables from Lidl and the local supermarket before we head off for the Southern Ionian and beyond.

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2 comments

  1. Had such a special, lovely holiday. Thank you both very much – hopefully some of us will get out again later in the summer xxxx


  2. sounds like you guys are still having fun!



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